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Lewiston- Woodville seeks grant

LEWISTON-WOODVILLE – An effort to improve wastewater collection and treatment here in this Bertie County town is close to becoming reality.

After nearly a decade of applying for grants, Lewiston-Woodville appears to be on the verge of securing $1.77 million from USDA-Rural Development to replace the town’s existing wastewater treatment plant and make improvements to its sewer collection system.

“We’ve been applying for grants without any luck over the past six to seven years,” Dianne Harrington, Town Clerk/Finance Officer, told the R-C News-Herald last week. “We’ve gotten to the point where we can no longer fix the issues we’re having with our current wastewater plant and the sewage collection system. We have to replace all of it, so we turned to USDA-Rural Development to see if they could assist us.”

Harrington added that USDA-RD has yet to finalize the deal, which will include the town having to borrow $862,000 to pay for the entire project, estimated at $2,636,000. That loan from USDA-RD will be financed for 40 years at 2.125 percent interest.

“We’re happy that the largest portion of this money comes in the form of a grant,” Harrington said. “The money we borrow, when and if the grant is approved, will be paid back through user fees for our wastewater system. We’ll have to increase those fees accordingly, but we have no other choice than to go this route. Had it not been for the grant, at over $1 million, we would have to raise those user fees even higher.”

Upon approval of the grant and loan, Harrington said the bids would go out on the project.

“It will take at least one year, perhaps two, before the new system is operational,” she noted.

According to Bobby Blowe of Municipal Engineering Services Company, his firm is providing the scope of work needed in Lewiston-Woodville.

Blowe said the town is currently served by a 150,000 gpd (gallons per day) package treatment plant discharging into the Cashie River that was constructed in the 1960’s.

“The condition of the plant is poor due to its age and the wear associated with 50-plus years of use,” Blowe said. “In addition to the line work, the collection sewer system consists of approximately 78 manholes and eight pump stations.”

Blowe noted that the primary pump station, which sends all flow to the plant, has only one functional pump and is held together in places by C-Clamps. He added that at least two other pump stations are also in poor condition and allow extraneous flow to enter the system.

“Trends in flow indicate that surges occur each year during periods of greatest precipitation,” Blowe observed. “The town’s staff has done its best to keep the plant’s effluent within the discharge limits allowed by the state; however this task becomes more difficult each day. Removing some of the inflow and infiltration from the system will create additional capacity at the plant and allow the town to continue operating within the parameters of its current permit.”

The project proposed by Municipal Engineering Services Company will replace the existing wastewater treatment plant with a new 150,000 gpd package plant to be located on the existing site. A 100 kW emergency generator for back-up power will also be installed. The existing plant will continue in service until the construction of the new facility is completed and the flow can be redirected.

Additionally, at least three of the town’s pump stations will be rehabilitated. Smoke testing and camera inspections of the portions of the collection system thought to be in the worst condition will be targeted first, Blowe said, adding that a “find and fix” approach will be utilized to make appropriate repairs.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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